Virginia (VA) Jury Awards $7.5 Million in Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer Case | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A great result in a medical negligence case was recently achieved in the Spotsylvania Circuit Court of Virginia in a wrongful death case about a doctor’s error in treatment. According to an article that appeared in Virginia Lawyers Weekly, a jury awarded $7.5 million to the husband of a registered nurse who died from breast cancer. Eleanor Browder had noticed a lump in her breast and had gone to see her family practitioner from Lee’s Hill Medical Associates in May 2003. The family practitioner, Dr. Donna Gamache, had ordered a mammogram that came back negative, but did not refer Mrs. Browder to a specialist for further testing. After 7 months the lump had more than doubled its size and Mrs. Browder went back to Dr. Gamache, who then referred her to a specialist. Following further testing, the mass in Mrs. Browder’s breast was found to be malignant. 

After the cancer was discovered, Mrs. Browder had to have a bilateral mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment sessions before her cancer finally went into remission. Two years later, the cancer metastasized and she died at 57 in April of 2008. William Artz, an attorney located in Arlington, Virginia represented Mrs. Browder claiming that Dr. Gamache along with a nurse practitioner were negligent when they did not initially seek further testing to investigate the abnormal mass. Attorneys representing Dr. Gamache and Lee’s Hill Medical Associates (really their insurers) claim that Mrs. Browder’s outcome could not have been changed. They maintained the position that the delay in her diagnosis would not have had an effect on her chances of survival due to the aggressive nature of the cancer. The jury was in deliberation for 5 and ½ hours before awarding Mrs. Browder’s husband $7.5 million dollars. Under Virginia medical malpractice law, the wrongful death award will be reduced to the amount of the applicable cap allowed, likely under $2 million dollars.


About the Editors: Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp& Duffan personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.